Ask Ken, 05/21/2004

Which three cards in MTG history would you consider to be Wizards’s biggest overall mistakes?

Welcome to the weekend edition of Ask Ken. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. The prerelease is this weekend. I have always been a rather large fan of prereleases. They are fun tournaments, and they test a skill set that no other format truly tests. The early release of the spoilers dampens some of that, but it is still always an interesting format. This feeling of being put on the spot can mean one of only two things. Either John Henson is finally about to confront me about stealing his shtick, or it’s time for a little Reader Mail! Hey! Alright, don’t worry, Skunkboy, I’m sure I will run out of these soon enough.

Today’s letter comes to us from Andreas Nillson. Andreas writes:

Hey Ken (or as of yet unknown guest columnist),

Dude you asked for more interesting questions, and I can only agree. However hard some draft picks may seem, and as funny trashing [certain people] may be, I wanna ask you these questions three (geez I do so not rock):

From Ice Age and on, which type 2 metagame decks do you personally think was the most overrated one and which was the most underrated one?

Have you ever lost your temper really bad during tourney play?

Which 3 cards in MTG history would you consider to be WotC’s biggest overall mistakes?

[closing deleted for questionable content]

/Andy”Det ar en rapphona” Nilsson

Well Andy those are some really interesting questions. The most overrated Type Two deck since Ice Age would probably be ProsBloom. Mike Long played this deck to great success, but on the whole, the deck just didn’t perform. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t consistent. It had a lot of trouble dealing with control cards, and if you hiccuped against beatdown, you were done for. As for the most underrated it has to be Necropotence at the very first Pro Tour. Leon Lindback had the most powerful deck in that tournament and many other people didn’t even know it existed.

I am probably the most laid back person you will ever meet when it comes to tournament play. The one thing I absolutely will not tolerate is when an opponent won’t shake my hand after a match. In a recent PTQ for Pro Tour: San Diego I was playing at Neutral Ground, and my third round opponent decided not to shake my hand. I played poorly but he had some mana issues, so I won despite my misplays. After game 2, I extended my hand and said sincerely,”sorry about that man.” And he didn’t shake my hand. Well that set me off. I trashed this guy openly every time I saw him for the rest of the day. He tried to explain that he never shakes hands after a mana screw game, even if it is his opponent’s mana screw. I said,”okay, then you are an a-hole.” He meekly walked away and I haven’t seen him since.

Three biggest mistakes… That is a tough one. I could go for the easy out and say Ancestral Recall, Balance, and Yawgmoth’s Will, but I will do a bit better than that. Skullclamp is at the top of my list. They should have learned their lesson by now. Yes, the cards from Urza’s Block and earlier may have been more powerful, but that was a testing ground. Making a card drawing spell as powerful and reusable and cheap as Skullclamp is inexcusable at this stage of the game. Power Matrix may not seem like much, but this card was completely unfair in Limited. It was the one card in the set where if it hit the table, the person who had cast it simply cannot lose. There were few answers to it and I think it was the most powerful Limited card for its format of all time. Yawgmoth’s Bargain is my choice for third. While this wasn’t the most powerful card to come out of Urza’s Block (it was third at best behind Will and Memory Jar), it was the one that made me say,”Give me a break!” They really should have learned their lesson and pulled this card at the last minute. I understand sets are done in advance, but I have a feeling the brokenness of Saga had already reared its ugly head. This should not have been made.

The source on just about everything,


Well that’s all the stuff I can muster for this week. Join us next week when we look at more stuff. Have a great weekend everybody!

[email protected]


Well, I am not one to start a column without an intro so despite Gerard Fabiano answering today’s question, you will still get a piece of my mind. It isn’t always easy to find guest writers, especially one per week, but don’t you worry, I have a lot in the pipeline, and I am sure you won’t be disappointed. That sensation of nails across a chalkboard can mean one of only two things. Either I am having another high school nightmare, or Gerard is about to answer a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us from the city of brotherly love. A frustrated Bride to be writes:

Dear Ken,

Why? Why are people so insane for this stupid game? My fiancé plays this game and I really can’t understand the attraction (seriously you are stuck in a room full of smelly men and generally without a woman in sight). I’m embarrassed that my soon to be husband plays this game, but my attempts to get him to stop have been unsuccessful. Any suggestions for getting the piles of cardboard stacked everywhere out of my house forever? He keeps rambling about his Alpha set, can you find someone that I could dump them on, I can’t stand the mess!? I’ll sell the whole lot for 10 bucks. Just get them out!


Frustrated in Philly

Dear Mrs. Frustrated:

Insane“”Stupid Game!” What are you talking about? Okay, just joking, your question is very common among women who are attracted or involved in a relationship with a hard-core gamer. Questions like,”Why would he rather spend his Saturday to win a little blue envelop when he can be spending time with me?” are frequent occurrences. Well, the answer is that Magic is more than just a stupid game that may drive someone insane, it is actually a way of life. Think about it for a second, how many friends does your fiance have that also plays Magic? Probably a fair amount, and he would have never met these friends if he didn’t play Magic.

This is my third year on the Pro Tour and I made more friends in the past three years than I did in my whole life. There is truth to the fact that some Magic players may smell a little, some may smell a lot, some even may smell worse than Antonio De Rosa’s PayLess boots, but a lot of Magic players are real good guys and will be behind you when the going gets tough. Think about it… I am sure everyone has that friend that you always money draft with or drive to PTQs together. Will you drive an hour out of the way to pick up your friend for a tournament? I did it, and I am sure most of you would too.

So Mrs. Frustrated (if that is even your real name), if your finance is happy playing Magic, let him play! Just make sure he balances his love for the game and his love for you. As far as selling all of his Alpha cards, well StarCityGames.com buys cards all the time! So there you have it, I hope I helped you out with your situation, and I am sure my words of wisdom has brought a smile to your face, if not maybe this will:

What did 50 Cent (the rapper) say to the sewing lady?

Gee you knit?

Gerard Fabiano

Any more questions? Need some more jokes or maybe have a good joke? E-mail [email protected]